Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

Editor: W. Patrick Tandy

February, 2004

 

Leadership in Public Service

By M. Teresa Schmiedeler

As part of the University of Maryland School of Law “Leadership in Public Service” speakers’ series, American Bar Association (ABA) President Dennis Archer will address the legal community on the importance of public service and diversity in the legal profession from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 25, 2004, in the Ceremonial Court Room at the University of Maryland School of Law. Archer, who served as mayor of Detroit and Michigan Supreme Court Justice prior to becoming the first African-American elected to the ABA’s highest office, will also be honored for his leadership in public service and commitment to high standards of professionalism.

The “Leadership in Public Service” program, created to celebrate the contributions of leaders in public service and inspire law students, as future leaders in the legal profession, to become more involved in making a real difference in their communities, was launched on November 18, 2003, with Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) President Harry S. Johnson as the guest speaker and recipient of the University of Maryland School of Law’s “Leadership in Public Service” award. The first African-American to serve as MSBA President, Johnson addressed the legal community’s professional responsibility to public service. Johnson also acknowledged the student leaders of the Maryland Public Interest Law Project, Inc., (MPILP) at the University of Maryland School of Law for their commitment to public service and applauded their efforts in raising funds to support a summer public interest grant program for law students working in public interest organizations.

The student-run MPILP will celebrate its 15th anniversary on March 13, 2004, with its annual “Goods & Services Auction” held at the University of Maryland School of Law. The students’ efforts receive financial support from various sources, including the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, the Cardin family, local law firms, the Baltimore Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, individual attorneys, public interest organizations, business leaders and the law school faculty and staff.

“With the support of the legal and business community, we can make it possible for law students to afford to work at the Legal Aid Bureau, Public Justice Center, Homeless Persons Representation Project and many other local and national public interest organizations and ultimately help others in need gain equal access to justice,” says Peter Coleman, a third-year law student at the University of Maryland School of Law and one of the many dedicated student leaders of MPILP. “We believe all citizens benefit from efforts that encourage law students to help those individuals and communities that can not afford legal assistance.”

Through progressive initiatives like the “Leadership in Public Service” program, the University of Maryland School of Law hopes to continue inspiring law students to make a positive difference by recognizing the challenges that face our communities and the benefits of public service. As the present and future leaders of the legal profession, Archer, Johnson and the many student volunteers of MPILP illuminate the many ways in which it is possible to reach for the highest standards of professionalism while making a real difference.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: February, 2004

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